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Clifford D. May

Clifford D. May

Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a columnist for The Washington Times. He can be reached at

Articles by Clifford D. May

Illustration on the dreams and realities of the Paris Middle-East peace process by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

French fried peace process

The French government last week initiated a new "peace process." Ignoring the butchery underway in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, as well as the threat Iran now poses to the Middle East, their focus is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Published June 7, 2016

Illustration positing the possible national security actions of the presidential candidates by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

National security reforms for the next president

"National security" is a highfalutin phrase for a problem that can be stated quite simply: We have enemies. What do we do about them? Since this is a matter of life and death, it's worth asking: What national security policies can we expect the next commander in chief to implement? Published May 24, 2016

Illustration on the death of Hezbollah commander Mustafa Badreddine by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

A death in Damascus, grief in Beirut

Five years ago, during the optimistically named Arab Spring, Syrians staged peaceful protests against the ruling dynasty that had long oppressed them. President Bashar Assad responded brutally: In May 2011, he sent tanks into the suburbs of Damascus, Deraa, Homs and other cities to crush his critics. Civil war followed. Published May 17, 2016

Illustration of Ben Rhodes by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Obama's 'boy wonder'

Among the most serious charges that President Obama and his supporters have leveled against President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney: They "cherry-picked intelligence." The phrase suggests that, while in office, they sorted through the information provided by America's spy agencies, selecting the tidbits that supported their policies while discarding anything that might cast doubts on their conclusions. Published May 10, 2016

Observations along the road to ruin

People think early European immigrants to America were seeking religious freedom. In fact, they sought escape from religious persecution. Not quite the same thing. Published May 3, 2016

Share the Neighborhood Illustration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The Mr. Rogers Doctrine

Barack Obama last week visited Saudi Arabia, an unusual nation with which the United States has had a relationship that can be accurately characterized as both strategic and strange -- and one that is now severely strained. To understand how we got to this juncture requires at least a smattering of modern history. Published April 26, 2016

Illustration on examining the real nature of collecting intelligence through extraordinary rendition by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

A spy's story

After a long and extraordinary career, Gen. Michael Hayden has written "Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror." Both a memoir and a primer on modern espionage, it also attempts to correct the historical record and maybe settle a few scores. Nothing wrong with that, if you ask me. Published April 19, 2016

Illustration on the course of America during the next presidency by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Can America change course?

As you watch the circus that is the 2016 presidential campaign, which candidate strikes you as having a coherent vision of national security for the post-Obama era? Who has told you what he (or she) will do about the rise of jihadi regimes and groups in the Middle East and well beyond? Published April 12, 2016

Illustration on Obama's monetary enticement strategy to blunt Iranian aggression by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Obama's dollar deal

President Obama's critics charge that he's never developed a strategy to defeat terrorism, the weapon of choice for those waging what they call a global jihad. The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, the journalist whose ear Mr. Obama most likes to bend, says that's wrong -- that the president does have a strategy. "He is, after all, killing jihadists at a frenetic pace." Published April 5, 2016

Our man in Havana

''I have come here to bury the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas." That was Barack Obama's "historic" announcement in Cuba last week. But was it true? What is the Castro regime if not a vestige of communism's 20th century struggle against the capitalist enemy — also known as the Free World? And, self-evidently, President Obama had come not to bury the Castros but to normalize relations with them. Published March 29, 2016

Real Free Speech College Illustration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

When universities become day care centers

Back in 1993, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a New York Democrat, warned against "defining deviancy down." He was talking specifically about crime, about our getting used to it and not taking serious measures to fight it. But over the years since, is there any realm of American or European life where acceptance of ever-increasing deviancy has not become "the new normal"? Published March 22, 2016

Illustration on ISIS' genocide against Christians by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Call it a genocide of Christians

In the Yemeni port city of Aden earlier this month, Islamists attacked a Catholic home for the indigent elderly. The militants, believed to be soldiers of the Islamic State, shot the security guard, then entered the facility where they gunned down the old people and their caregivers, including four nuns. At least 16 people were murdered. Published March 15, 2016

Illustration on so-called Iranian moderates by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The search for elusive Iranian moderates

Elections at the end of February have apparently bolstered the position of President Hassan Rouhani. Though sophisticated and pragmatic, "Rouhani is not a moderate, he is a hard-liner." Those words were recently spoken by Wendy Sherman, former undersecretary of state who served as President Obama's lead negotiator on the Iran nuclear agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Published March 8, 2016

Illustration on the Israeli Palestinian conflict by M. Ryder/tribune Content Agency

How not to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict

Imagine that your mission is to make sure the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians does not get resolved -- not even now, a time when self-proclaimed jihadis are wreaking havoc throughout much of the Middle East and, as a consequence, Israel's relations with Egypt, Jordan and even Saudi Arabia are improving. What policies might help you accomplish your mission? Published February 23, 2016

Illustration on the lack of U.S. intercession against acts of genocide by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Bystanders to genocide

It's surprising how time slips away: Just five years ago next month, President Obama proclaimed a "responsibility to act" when American "interests and values are at stake." Published February 16, 2016

Illustration on unconventional war by Linas Garsys/The Washington Tmes

Winning an unconventional war

War is -- and always will be -- hell. The Law of Armed Conflict is not meant to change that -- only to make it a little less hellish. There are weapons you agree not to use. In exchange, your enemy doesn't use those weapons against you. You treat captured combatants humanely. You expect the same when your soldiers are taken prisoner. Published February 9, 2016

Illustration on the West's failure to take Muslim culture seriously by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

The Islamist wears Dolce & Gabbana

In the "culture" section of the venerable Atlantic magazine last month, there was a news item I wouldn't want you to miss: "The Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana has just launched a line of hijabs (headscarves) and abayas (cloaks) in the label's signature playful, theatrical aesthetic." Published February 2, 2016

Illustration on worldwide Islamist terror by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Skirmishes on the Indian front

DELHI -- What do you make of this month's attacks on Pathankot Air Force Station and Bacha Khan University? My guess is you don't know -- you've heard next to nothing about either. Published January 26, 2016

Illustration on the disastrous impact of Muslim immigration to Europe by Linas Garsys/the Washington Times

The threat to America's national existence

President Obama judged the Islamic State the "JV team," boasted that he'd set al Qaeda "on its heels" and implemented successful counterterrorism policies in Yemen. He insists that both the nuclear deal and the hostages-for-felons swap he concluded with Iran's rulers are triumphs of diplomacy. Published January 19, 2016

Adolf Erdogan Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Erdogan and the meaning of Hitler

It's one of those questions political science majors debate over too many beers at the college pub: Which is better, a parliamentary system or a government headed by a powerful chief executive? Published January 5, 2016